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Tuesday - February 12, 2001
     
     
  • Another Roger Rabbit?Roger Rabbit 2 Project Still Alive?

  • While talking to Cinescape’s Eric Moro about this summer’s Signs, genre producer Frank Marshall touched on a sequel so long in the waiting people have stopped expecting it. That would be Roger Rabbit 2. Seems the film might not be as dead as many thought. "We developed a script for Roger 2, which was sort of a prequel," revealed Marshall. "[It showed] how Roger came to Hollywood, but it was too expensive. When we laid it all out, there was too much animation and it was too expensive. But now that things are what they are with CG, we may look at it again. But it’s pretty dormant right now." As a reminder, a Special Edition of the movie on DVD is currently in the works at the Mouse House. Let's hope it will be a huge commercial success, prompting Disney to move ahead on a sequel!
     
     
  • What's Up with the Hunchback Deluxe 2-Disc DVD?

  • A listing of all the details for the upcoming 2-disc set of the Disney classic was posted on the official Disney site yesterday... but taken down overnight! Was this just a big mistake and will the special edition never happen? Or is it a work in progress and this announcement was premature? More on that as soon as I can get more information... It's usually hard to get any official update from the Mouse House -not every studio has Don Bluth's customer care skills!
     
     
  • Preview of Treasure Planet Toys

  • Laughing Place reported on Toy Fair 2002 where Hasbro presented their upcoming items for Disney's Holiday release. Action figures, electronic launchin' solar surfer, blastin' action battle station, electronic cyborg Silver... you name it -they have it!
     
     
  • Hot DVD Releases Today

  • Look out for Peter Pan's Special Edition, the premiere of John Henry on Disney's American Legends, and last but not least Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust -which reportedly is still in the run for Best Animated Feature in spite of rumours that it was too short to be eligible. The direct-to-video crime The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue also hit shelves today in the U.S. -"this story even falls short when compared to Disney straight-to-video releases aimed at the same age group" according to Digitally Obsessessed, which helps put things in perspective! Also check out the site's take on the Troll in Central Park DVD, due for release next week: "with its thin storyline and unsophisticated characters, it could easily be dismissed as a failure. However, it succeeds on the level to which it strives, providing fun for young children." Thanks to Animation on DVD for compiling these reviews.
     
     
  • AMO's Oscar Nomination Poll

  • The final results are in for Animation Magazine's poll, and the movies with the most votes are, in order, Monsters Inc., Shrek, Final Fantasy and Jimmy Neutron. Waking Life rounds up the top 5, even though it's likely to be among the thee nominees selected by the Academy in a few hours...
     
     
  • Did You Know That... A prequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, in which Tom Cruise was originally to star, has been in the works since 1992.  According to Variety, Alan Menken completed the score, described as an old-fashioned Busby Berkeley-style song-and-dance flick -which will probably never be released to the public. 

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Monday - February 11, 2001
 
 
  • Forum Back Up! (10:45pm ET)

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  • Forums Temporarily Down

  • As many of you have already figured out, Network 54, which hosts free forums, is currently experiencing technical difficulty -you get what you pay for, right? Therefore all forums supported by this company (including the Animated Movies Forum, Feature Animation Forum and Brazilian News) cannot be accessed at this time. Be patient -we should all be back up soon. In the meantime, addicts can post away at the Animation HQ Board!
     
     
  • Oscar Nominations Announced Tomorrow

  • Watch the news around 5:30am Pacific Time to find out whether Shrek could be amongst the Best Picture nominees, Monsters Inc. grab a Best Song nomination or Final Fantasy be part of the three lucky candidates to the first Toon Award!
     
     
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame To Be Released as a Deluxe DVD Set

  • The Disney DVD site announces that the 1996 classic will get not one, but two DVD releases: the regular edition which will include an audio commentary, a making of, multi-language reel, Topsy Turvy game and sing-along... Meanwhile, a "Deluxe 2-Disc DVD" will feature all of the above, plus a second disc with "History And Development, Preliminary Designs, Character Designs, Character Concept Design, Story (including an alternate opening), Deleted Songs ('Someday', 'In A Place Of Miracles', 'As Long As There's A Moon'), Digital Production Demonstration, and Publicity Materials." Even though it sounds like both editions will be released on March 19, no trace of the deluxe set can be found in online stores yet. Note that the deleted song 'Someday' will also grace the VHS copies. Thanks to 'Greg' for the alert.
     
     
  • Actual Weekend Box-Office Data

  • #22: Beauty and the Beast, Special Edition with $977,455 for a total gross of $15,425,441 over 68 theaters
    #23: Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius with $721,706 for a total gross of $78,614,532 over 982 theaters
    #31: Monsters, Inc. with $280,877 for a total gross of $251,644,856 over 334 theaters
    #40: Metropolis with $63,831 for a total gross of $309,209 over 13 theaters
    #53: Waking Life with $16,345 for a total gross of $2,777,954 over 15 theaters
     
     
  • Sneak Peak at Disney's Upcoming Projects

  • A lucky few sales & promotional people around the world got to see sneak peeks at Disney's upcoming animated line-up. Dark Horizons got the scoop from a London-based insider: "Piglet's Big Movie is basically The Tigger Movie but Piglet in the lead. Treasure Planet looks great but not very marketable. A lot has changed [on Lilo & Stitch], a sequence was changed because of Sept 11th, but the marketing campaign is brilliant - using previous Disney faves like Aladdin and The Lion King in the previews. Also sshown were the full storyboards [of Finding Nemo], a story run through and a clip of the only animated sequence completed to date - 45 seconds of the intro with Nemo the Clown Fish swimming through the reef. Still, this was 'AMAZING' and blows Monsters Inc. out of the water in animation terms."
     
     
  • Direct Links to New Trailers

  • Wanna save a copy of the latest animated trailers? Then use the links highlighted in this paragragh, for Lilo & Stitch's Aladdin teaser (low res, high res) and third Ice Age trailer (low res, high res).
     
     
  • Pete Docter Interview

  • AICN recently sat down with the Monsters, Inc. director. "Computer animation is kind of half way between 2D animation and live action. So we really get the best of both : the color and fantasy design from 2D and cinematography, lightning from live action. Our choices of character design quite releflects that. A lot of times, the shapes are very simplified, some of the textures are more real. There’s no way you could look at Boo and find she’s a photography of a real kid, it’s obviously a cartoon. We’re very aware of that, it’s a conscious choice. There’s nothing really interesting to me about trying to replicate reality." Pete Docter also explains why the movie's initial opening sequence had to be changed: "when we first came up with the film, the first version screened one year ago, it opened with a child in bed, moonlight, something spooky going on, enter the monster, the kid sees it, raise and scream and the lights come out to show it was fake. It seemed to be a cool, clever way to introduce and let the audience familiarize with the film. But it was perceived as a very spooky movie, for ten minutes after this opening, nobody was laughing, even at stuff we knew was funny, but we weren’t giving them permission to laugh. So when we saw that in the screening, we went 'oops, how to fix that?.' Then came the idea of the title sequence, very poppy and fun, that would telle the audience : this is gonna be fun, this is gonna be a comedy, a lighthearted, fun film. Ultimately it improved the film by showing that the monsters clearly are afraid of children, which is the central idea of the film."
     
     
  • Spirited AwayDisney To Finally Release Spirited Away In U.S. Theaters?

  • Toshio Suzuki, president of Studio Ghibli and producer of Spirited Away, told Japan Today that they "will have an English version out soon...If you try to make a good film, everyone will come and see it.". Miyazaki's film takes some explaining and is unfamiliar fare to Western audiences, more used to what Suzuki describes as "animation musicals" than "animation films." But Toshio Suzuki is confident of similar treatment for Japan's biggest blockbuster, but hopes for more success. "I can drop a hint that it'll take less time to reach the international market than Princess Mononoke. "I'll be frank. We have a friendly relationship with Disney and the first negotiations are already underway. They are looking at our film."
     
     
  • Photos from the World Premiere of Return to NeverLand

  • Margaret Kerry  (the model for Tinkerbell), Hook's voice Corey Burton, Harriet Owen, Blayne Weaver and the animated cast of the Disney sequel all gathered yesterday at the El Capitan Theater to celebrate Friday's release of NeverLand. Check out the four pictures available from PR Newswire (1, 2, 3, 4).
     
     
  • International Trailer for Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

  • Dreamworks SKG Fansite points out to the international trailer of Spirit Stallion of Cimarron, which is the same as North American trailer but features two additional scenes of birds flying in the forest and stallions running in the water. Download it here
     
     
  • Monsters Have A Smash Premiere In International Markets!

  • Monsters, Inc. had a smash premiere in Europe and Asia over the weekend, Variety reports. The Pixar blockbuster devoured $12.5 million in the U.K. (including $3 million from the prior weekend's previews), the market's third-highest opener in history behind Potter and Rings, and 10% better than the debut of Toy Story 2 and almost double that of Shrek. In Spain, Monsters rang up an estimated $1.9 million, the second-biggest animated bow ever behind Tarzan and 35% ahead of Shrek. In four Scandinavian markets, the family picture minted a combined $1.3 million, close to the Toy Story 2 entry in that region. Launched Saturday in Hong Kong ahead of this week's Chinese New Year celebrations, Monsters fetched roughly $400,000 in two days, eclipsing Shrek by 70%. Disney estimated its weekend haul at $20.4 million from 29 countries, hoisting the foreign total to $81 million. Buoyed by word of mouth, the cartoon eased by a mere 17% in Germany, where it has clocked $7 million in 11 days.
     
     
  • Ferngully DVD Review 

  • DVD Review gives this movie the thumbs down -calling it "little more than a feature-length animated ecology PSA." Note that I couldn't disagree more!
     
     
  • Oscar Predictions

  • The nominations will be announced tomorrow. Will Shrek grab a Best Picture nomination? Which feature will be the first nominee for Best Animated Feature? According to the Hollywood Reporter, "DreamWorks' intensive campaign on behalf of Shrek, a huge critical and commercial hit, was aimed at earning it a best picture nomination. But in a year that offers the Academy's first-ever best animated feature Oscar, Shrek is more likely to show up in that tailor-made category, where its competition is expected to be Monsters, Inc. and Waking Life. At least, that's the inside betting as the final nominations ballots are tallied. Any other outcome tomorrow morning will be viewed as a major upset." But AP disagees: according to them, Shrek does have "an outside chance at a best-picture nomination." You can discuss  this topic now in the Animated Movies Forum!
     
     
  • Alan Menken Interview

  • Animagic scored the transcript of an interview that the famous composer gave recently to the internal Disney newsletter Eyes & Ears. "Aladdin, we had written the entire score, and then found out after [lyricist Howard Ashman] died that half of it was no longer useful because [Aladdin's] mother and the sidekicks had been cut [from the film]. So Tim Rice stepped in, and therefore I wrote it. (...) The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I think, is the most ambitious score I've ever written. Hercules was [with] David Zippel and those really clever lyrics and again. Those projects were coming out at a time where there was more cynicism about animated musicals. It was harder to sell them, but I'm really proud of Hercules. Every time I listen to the score, I think it was one of my best." Next for Alan is the 2003 western musical Sweating Bullets.
     
     
  • First Peanuts  Special in Eight Years: Still Works!

  • Two years after creator Charles Schulz's death, producer Lee Mendelson and animator Bill Melendez, both of whom worked with Schulz for many years, are engineering the reunion of the Peanuts gang for their first TV animated special in eight years, "A Charlie Brown Valentine", reports the Seattle Time. Schulz's trust in the two was such that he wanted them to keep creating Peanuts specials after his death. Even when Schulz grew too sick to draw the strip any longer, he said he wanted Mendelson and Melendez to continue with the specials. "The day before he passed away, I was up at his house," says Mendelson. "We were going to work, because he wanted to keep doing TV shows. It was quite strange to do this new special without him, but it's really like he's still here because we worked together for so many years," 85-year old Melendez remembers. Read a positive review of the special over at JS online. Thanks to Animation Blast for the heads up!
     
     
  • Pixar To Receive PGA Vanguard Award

  • AWN reports that Pixar Animation Studios will be honored with the Producers Guild of America’s (PGA) inaugural Vanguard Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in new media and technology. The PGA cited Pixar’s significant contributions in the field of computer graphic imaging (CGI) technology since its inception 15 years ago. Ed Catmull, president of Pixar Animation Studios, said, "We are so thrilled to be the first recipient of the Vanguard Award, and we thank the Producers Guild for giving us this very special honor." Ed Catmull, John Lasseter and Steve Jobs will accept the award on behalf of Pixar at the annual PGA Awards on Sunday, March 3, 2002 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California. 
     
     
  • Did You Know That... In November 2001, Spirited Away outstripped Titanic at the Japanese box-office with a record record of $216.7 million in total ticket sales after a mere three months -selling one ticket for every six people in the country! 
  • Sunday - February 10, 2001
     
     
  • Plot for Mulan II Revealed?

  • The great news is that only one day after its launch, the Animated Movies Forum is already a goldmine of information! According to 'Darren', Shang and Mulan, "who were preparing for their wedding, are suddenly sent off on a secret mission. Mushu starts to meddle and a surprise attack by Mongolians doesn't help either."
     
     
  • Cut Scene and Budget for Ice Age

  • With Disney partner Pixar and DreamWorks-owned Pacific Data Images doing so well, is there room for another major computer-animation player? Fox, who teamed with Blue Sky Studios, certainly hopes so, reports Entertainment Weekly. After the debacle of the hand-drawn Titan, A.E., execs are banking on the sleek CG look of Ice Age to lift the studio's toon hex. After [Chris] Wedge won an Oscar for the 1998 short Bunny, Fox greenlit his feature debut. But getting the narrative to work required some shaping. "A lot of scrutiny is given to this stuff because of the cost," says Wedge, who declined to talk budget (industry estimates say it's at least $75 million). "The concepts are vetted exhaustively." For instance, a subplot which found Leguizamo's sloth cozying up to a couple of females got whittled down to just one scene. "It was too double entendre-y," says Leguizamo. "It was hilarious, but kids weren't laughing, and parents weren't either." Preview audiences seem universally tickled, however, by a mute little "scrat"--part squirrel, part rat-and its acorn-burying antics. Bottom Line: the trailer has generated major buzz, but can Fox market well to the kids? Thanks to Movie Headlines for the alert.
     
     
  • A Fifth Lilo & StitchTrailer on the Way?

  • 'Mason' reportedly got an email from a Disney employee, revealing that yet another inter-Stitch-al would target The Jungle Book. "Stitch will be put in the 'I wanna be like you' scenes where King Louie and Baloo are dancing, when King Louie is walking in a line with a monkey, and Mowgli" -but it's Stitch instead of Baloo who comes in next. This sounds surprising considering that the movie's official site only has two blank teaser squares left, and that the Mouse House's strategy seems to be poking fun at recent classics that kids are more familiar with.
     
     
  • Online Petition Against Snow White 2!

  • 'Celbi Vagner' posted on the Animated Movies Forum a quite unusual petition -to stop Disney from releasing a sequel "to [Walt's] first animated film. I do not think that The Walt Disney Co. has any right to going against his wishes posthumously. Futhermore, with this petition, we are expressing our wishes for there to be a limitation on future."
     
     
  • Upcoming Disney Track for Animated Members

  • Those subscribing to the Animated Mailing List will receive today an email with this week's recap -plus a link to a special download page with a song, not yet (re-)released. This is a zipped MP3 file and will only be available for a few days. Enjoy!
     
     
  • Did You Know That... Stitch doesn't speak for most of Lilo & Stitch -the film is not told through snappy dialogue but rather through cleverly staged visual set pieces. 

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    Saturday - February 9, 2001
     
     
  • The Animated Movies Forum Opens

  • FYI, a new forum part of Animated Movies opened a few minutes ago at http://www.network54.com/Hide/Forum/182013. Another corner in cyber space for animation lovers to discuss past, present and upcoming projects, check up on ongoing rumours and submit reviews. Your own animated space to do whatever you please with -including chat. Leave a note now and spread the word -enjoy!!
     
     
  • Second LILO AND STITCH Teaser!Images from the Second Inter-Stitch-Al

  • I can't wait for Stitch to "get his own movie" -but in the meantime, if you have trouble downloading the teaser, check out how Experiment 626 interferes with Aladdin and Jasmine's romantic carpet ride and flies away with the girl through the picture gallery posted by Disney News -or the frame created by 'Anselmo'.
     
     
  • Third Ice Age Trailer Up

  • Though the movie's official site is a little jewel and so much fun to discover, it quickly becomes a pain to navigate through if you want to go straight to a specific section. So I'd recommend you go check out this new trailer directly at Apple.com -unless you've got a lot of time on your hands! I really hope this one is a hit, in order to add a new player in the CGI game and give the young talented team over at Blue Sky Studios a chance to prove themselves on the long term.
     
     
  • New Wallpapers from The Hunchback of Notre Dame II

  • The impressive thing about this DTV is that Disney got the entire cast back -plus some other big names such as Haley Joel Osment (who'll also be providing his voice for The Jungle Book II and The Country Bears) and Jennifer Love Hewitt. The song she penned and performs for the project sounds good too, but besides that... Everything else looks quite scary, from animation to plot. And that shot of Madeleine and Quasi sticking their tongue out in the rain -how more cheesy and cheap-looking can Disney get? The French site Disney Video looked at the sequel and gives it the thumbs down in a short but clear verdict: "it looks like crap -and it is crap."
     
     
  • Did You Know That... On February 9, 1997, The Simpsons became the longest-running prime-time animated series, beating the record previously held by The Flintstones.

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    Friday - February 8, 2001
     
     
  • Second Lilo & Stitch Trailer Available Online!

  • Check out the hilarious intrusion of Stitch in Aladdin's universe at the official site!
     
     
  • American Legends DVD Review

  • It was bound to happen, and here it is: the very first review to pop up at Animated Movies! I have been putting off building a database of movie and DVD reviews for a while now, because it was simply not on the top of my priorities yet -let me know how you feel about it. Not interested? Excited? Willing to contribute? 'BubbleGumUK' opens up the ball with a look at Disney's American Legends on DVD -my big disappointment on that one is the absence of Ben and Me:
     
    "First off, the American Lengends DVD features the well publicized inclusion of the John Henry short from 2000. In fact, an extra sticker, in addition to the already advertised cover art, points out 'All New John Henry Animated Short, As Seen In Theatres', pointing at the release of Return To Neverland, to which JH is attached to prints.

    The DVD, which also includes peeks at Beauty and the Beast, Winnie The Pooh, Atlantis, Schoolhouse Rock and 101 Dalmatians II, features the menu options on the pages of a book: American Legends. Select 'play' and the program starts with a cheap looking, badly shot and very poorly compressed video introduction by actor James Earl jones. Despite the entire program only running 58 minutes, the bit-rate on these inro links rarely jumps up past 5.0!

    First up is the eagerly awaited John Henry short. Rather annoyingly, the shorts are presented as part of the whole program, with Jones presenting each short. Basically this means that we are still waiting for the definitive widescreen, full version of JH, as it's been pan-and-scanned to fit the rest of the 1.33:1 material, with it's credits cut and placed in a roll with the others at the disc's end.

    The John Henry animation itself fits very well into the mix - it bares most similarities with Paul Bunyan, with a soundtrack very much in the Hercules/Gospel style. The story tells of the slave John Henry, who is freed and helps forge a railroad, proving himself against a technologically advanced steam-powered construction engine. In these sequences, there is some amazing light and shadow work, and the animation overall has a very classic look, although it may try too hard to capture the 'pencil line' look of the 60s and 70s - some of the shots expose this tecnique a little too obviously.

    As for the controversy in having a white director, Mark Henn, direct a story about predominantly black characters, well frankly I don't know what all the fuss was about! The nine-minute JH is a fantastic short and the supposedly down beat ending doesn't detract at all - in fact you could argue that Pocahontas is more unresolved. True, as has been mentioned on Animated Movies before, Henry is shown to pass away, but the film soon builds itself up to reveal the legacy he left behind, both in the form of a son, and the railroad.

    The animators at Disney have every right to be proud of this film - it is daring, bold and triumphant in every detail. The brass at Disney shouldn't be afraid of it at all, and I am glad it at least available in some form, although I can't wait to see it again in it's complete version on the front of Return To Neverland!

    As for the rest of the American Legends DVD, the additional shorts included are Paul Bunyan (quite similar in theme to JH), Johnny Appleseed (from the Melody Time feature) and The Brave Engineer - although there are many more tales that could have been included to build up running time (Pecos Bill, Ben and Me, Saga of Windwagon Smith)... The bonus features are limited to an 'American Legends' Learning Game, and the original Walt Disney television introduction to Johnny Appleseed.

    There's not much extra, although it's always great to see Disney's intros, and I can't believe the program was so compressed, as it's technically not using even half of the DVD's storage! The 58 minute program actually only runs 54 minutes - there's a four short credit roll at the end to make up the time difference!

    All in all, I would recommend this DVD to Disney fanatics (everyone on this site then!) for a chance to own the JH short - possibly the only time we'll be able to, unless that long-ago planned version of Song of the South ever hits stands! Don't get me started on THAT one!!

    - BubbleGumUK"

     
  • Cartoon Fan Has His Name Legally Changed to Hong Kong Phooey

  • 'BubbleGumUK' also sent in a funny anecdote from his home country: "29-year-old Gary Brett's mobile phone, council tax and driving licence details are all now in his new name. Gary landed himself in trouble with his wife, however, because he didn't tell her until after the change. The first that 26-year-old Danielle knew about it was when their council tax bill arrived addressed to Mr HK Phooey. Gary, of Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, changed his name by deed pole on the Internet, reports The Sun. Danielle told the paper: "It took Gary a long time to get me to drop my maiden name and call myself Brett. If he thinks I'm calling myself Mrs Phooey he's got another think coming. He's done daft things before but this takes the dog biscuit." Gary said: "I've loved Hong Kong Phooey since I was a boy and always wanted to be named after him. I'm quite serious about being known as Mr Phooey. Danni was a bit upset. But she should be honoured to be married to a Number One Superguy who's quicker than a human eye." 
     
     
  • Songwriter Sheldon Allman Has Died

  • Composer Sheldon Allman has died at age 77. Sheldon explained a few years ago to the L.A. Times that he wrote the theme song for George of the Jungle with singer and musician Stan Worth in 1967 at the request of producer Jay Ward. The instructions were to name all the characters -head of the jungle George; his wife, Ursula; the well-educated ape friend, Ape; and elephant Shep, who thought he was a dog. Ward also ordered themes for two other cartoons to run in the George time slot -satirical superhero Super Chicken and a race-car driver called Tom Slick. "Stan came over to my house," Sheldon Allman related. "We started at 1 o'clock, and by 4 o'clock we had the three songs." Sheldon's wife, Lorraine, returning home, was the first to hear the unforgettable "George, George, George" singsong chant. "You guys," she chided, "with all of your talent and all of your training, and this is what you find to put your time in on? Shame on you."
     
     
  • Screenshots from the Beauty and the Beast teaser!Description of the Upcoming Lilo & Stitch Teaser Trailers?

  • 'Les' sent in what looks like scoops about the upcoming Inter-Stitch-Als -but once again, no source was identified, so take it with a grain of salt. In the Aladdin teaser, "Stitch flies up in his spaceship next to Aladdin & Jasmine on their magic carpet ride" and "whistles at Jasmine." Meanwhile, the Lion King trailer "starts out just like the movie with the opening 'Circle of Life' song... The animals make their way to the foot of  Pride Rock to pay their respects to Simba... but Rafiki holds up Stitch instead!" And the fourth trailer that Disney is currently finishing would be based on The Little Mermaid.
     
     
  • Writing Team Named for Dreamworks' Madagascar

  • Upcoming Movies reveals that Billy Frolick and Mark Burton are currently working on the script for this CGI feature. It is still unclear whether Madonna is attached to the project or if Jennifer Lopez will take over her role as Gloria the hippo -but some singing can be expected!
     
     
  • Do Animation Studios Rely Too Much on Big Name Voice Actors?

  • "It's the hottest gig in show business," Larry Hummel, an agent at International Creative Management Inc, told the Toronto Star. "Everybody wants to do animation voice-over. It's a great creative experience for them.'' But veteran voice actress June Foray, best known as the voice of the flying squirrel Rocky in The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle on television and in a recent feature film, is alarmed by this increased reliance on stars. She laments that those performers who specialize in the animated field no longer seem to even be in the running to voice the lead characters. "We are all doing supplementary parts while Cameron Diaz is getting paid $10 million," said Foray, who earned her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "The stars receive millions of dollars for doing voices for animated film and then there is the poor actor who has to struggle to make at least $15,000 a year just to keep his benefits. A lot of the young people — wonderful, good, solid voice actors — have families and are buying homes, and work is bad for them." Clearly, stars are very useful for the promotion of any movie, but will not attract crowds as easily when only lending their voice to an animated character -furthermore, with the exception of a few huge names, usually only quality live-action flicks are carried further by their well-known cast. So if big name voice actors can help an animated feature find its audience, it is unlikely to make or break it commercially.
     
     
  • Japanese Animes Win U.S. Critics Over

  • The Toronto Star gives the thumbs up -and four stars- to Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis, currently in limited release in the U.S.:"Where western animation and comic traditions have tended to maintain generic distinctions between the adorable and adult, it's the Tezuka tradition -and subsequently the entire Japanese tradition- to mix them up. The result is anime's most arrestingly non-western convention of plunking plainly cartoonish characters into intricate environments." A special edition DVD of Metropolis will be released on March 12: the package will reportedly contain a normal sized DVD with the movie and a special 3-inch mini-DVD holding an hour's worth of extras. Meanwhile, DVD Review can't say enough good things about the new disc for Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust: "it offers stunning animation and an intriguing story. The film is action-packed and exciting from beginning to end." Anime rules!
     
     
  • Oscars Are Priceless for Dreamworks Animation

  • Entertainment Weekly reports that on January 25, DreamWorks spent an estimated $220,000 for three full-page ads in The New York Times advertising Shrek - playing in one New York City theater, Animation Blast underlines. They also ran three full-page ads in the L.A. Times - for shows in two Los Angeles venues. Shrek's three shows that day at NYC's AMC Empire drew a grand total of 15 viewers. In other words, $14, 667 per viewer. A DreamWorks rep responded, "You can't put a price on allowing Academy members to see a film in the bigscreen format." 
     
     
  • No Feature-Loaded Don Bluth DVDs In The Works

  • In news that will disappoint fans, director Don Bluth confirmed that there is no plan for him to provide any kind of audio commentary or content for upcoming DVD editions of his films. Besides Anastasia and Titan A.E., his movies' discs are sadly feature-free.
     
     
  • Rental Revenues for Atlantis

  • The Lost Empire grossed $3.58M in VHS rental this week, landing on the second spot, and $1.48M at the fourth place in the DVD rental charts. The movie tops the VHS and DVD Purhcase lists though.
     
     
  • The Mouse House Reinvents Disney's California Adventure

  • When Disney's California Adventure debuted last year, it was touted as a park themed for older children and adults, sporting a working winery, gourmet restaurants and more sophisticated entertainment, AP explains. For its new theme park, Disney took historical and educational concepts from the Disney's America park that was proposed in Virginia but never built and some already popular attractions from Walt Disney World, and added new thrills, including a simulated hang gliding tour of California and a roller coaster that goes from a dead stop to 55 mph in about four seconds. Disney's California Adventure opened in February to less than stellar reviews, however, and expected first-year crowds failed to materialize. Guests said they wanted more attractions for kids, less expensive eats and more to do for the $43 admission price. Disney listened. Now, characters from the Disney animated feature Monsters, Inc. cavort for the kids and work is starting on a new playground attraction aimed squarely at 4- to 8-year-olds. It's also adding a new play area based on the hit film A Bug's Life and a 183-foot free-fall ride called The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. "This has been a challenging year,'' said Barry Braverman, Walt Disney Imagineering executive producer for the park. "You have to step back and say this is a brand new park. It's still evolving. It's still finding it's feet."
     
     
  • Surprising Results of an Online Oscar Poll

  • Animation Magazine Online released the top three films selected by more than 2,000 respondents as of 2/1/02: Monsters, Inc. leads the pack with 57% of the dummy votes, with Shrek on its heels (48%), and Final Fantasy (36%). These are the features animation fans would apparently see among the Oscar nominees to the first Best Animated Feature Award. Very likely unfortunately, Final Fantasy will have to trade places with Waking Life -unlike the Academy feels sorry enough for the closing of Square USA.
     
     
  • Why Would Disney Thank Kevin Lima for Return to NeverLand?

  • According to 'Disney-maniac', the director of Tarzan and Cats & Dogs 2 was asked for help when the project "was 95% done." The director's chair was official shared only by Robin Budd and Donovan Cook in the press kit released yesterday by the Mouse House.
     
     
  • M.I. Producer Talks To The British Press...

  • Executive producer John Lasseter confirmed during an interview to Ananova that one of the characters in Finding Nemo makes a cameo appearance in Monsters, Inc. "So after Finding Nemo comes out then you'll watch the video of Monsters Inc and go 'Argh!' It's the longest we will ever wait for a laugh," said Lasseter. "At Pixar we always kind of make movies for ourselves. We're adults, reasonably intelligent and we love to laugh, we love to be moved in an audience, we love to see action and so on and so that's kind of the approach we take with our films." John Lasseter says Billy Crystal's decision to turn down the role of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story didn't affect the casting of the new film: "Billy always says it is the one decision in his entire career that he regrets to this day making," he said. "He said 'Yes' to this one before I'd even finished asking him. It's like he's trying to make up for lost time. He loves Monsters Inc, he's seen it probably six or seven times. He keeps bringing more and more people to see it."
     
     
  • ... And So Does M.I.'s Director

  • Meanwhile, director Pete Docter described his movie as "Scooby Doo on steroids: I thought about things that I knew were true for me as a kid. One, that my toys came to life when I wasn't in the room and two, that there were monsters hiding in my closet waiting to scare me. Basically the idea came out of trying to answer the question why monsters scare kids. Maybe it's because they're trying to entertain other monsters. It's like a reality TV show, or maybe even a sporting event where, you know, the top guys go in, they scare the kids and all the other monsters watch. But that didn't really go anywhere. Being parents we knew that children are an extremely unstable source of energy, very volatile. So we thought maybe the monsters go in, scare the kids to collect their scream and the scream is the power source in the monster world. So that's basically the idea kind of extrapolated out from that." Doctor added that when Pixar casts actors to voice their characters it doesn't go for the most famous names but for people who fit what they're looking for. "In the case of Sulley, we needed someone with a great deal of strength and power to him because he's the best scarer. But then he also needs to have a sensitivity and a rea vulnerability to him as he becomes parent to the little girl, Boo, and John Goodman really fit the bill well," he said.
     
     
  • No WGA for This Year's Animation Hits

  • The Writers Guild of America announced its screenplay nominations Thursday: it turns out that Monsters, Inc. and Shrek were ineligible because their respective studios, Walt Disney and DreamWorks, had not signed either the WGA contract or its new credits agreement for feature animation.
     
     
  • Little Mermaid III Rumour Debunked

  • My mom did tell me I should not believe everything I am told... Anyway, it turns out that the rumoured 2004 direct-to-video sequel The Little Mermaid III: Ursula's Return discussed at the Feature Animation Forum was nothing but a hoax!
     
     
  • Did You Know That... Titan A.E. was originally titled Planet Ice.

  •  
    Thursday - February 7, 2001
       
       
    • Pixar To Greenlight Its First Post-Disney Feature This Summer!

    • The animation studio reported on Thursday fourth quarter profits double the previous quarter's and handily beat forecasts as its hit movie Monsters, Inc. began to pay off. "The numbers were as good as they seem. Monsters Inc. was a big hit," said Peter Mirsky, an analyst at S.G. Cowen Securities. But he said he was still neutral on Pixar, since its next movie, Finding Nemo, was not due until summer 2003. Steve Jobs said in a conference call with investors that Pixar aims to bring out a movie every 12 months, compared to the current lag of about 18 months. The Pixar CEO added that the three movies covered by its existing deal with Walt Disney Co. were each in some stage of production and that Pixar was primed to "green light" the first film of a "post-Disney world" this summer. Jobs denied that Disney and Pixar were on poor terms and said Pixar might strike another deal with Disney. However, he told investors Pixar would horde its cash so that it could finance its own pictures -- or use the threat in negotiations. In an interview with Reuters, Jobs promised more original ideas even as rivals looked to animated adaptations. "We are a very story driven studio. We have our creative teams constantly thinking up really fun stories," he said.
       
       
    • Two Interesting Tidbits on Lilo & Stitch

    • According to the Brazilian site Animagic, Disney's upcoming feature is based on a story pitched by writer-director Chris Sanders over 10 years ago. Fantasy Island star Ricardo Montalban will reportedly provide the voice of one of the movie's aliens.
       
       
    • Winnie The Pooh To Go CGI?

    • Okay, this is absolutely not based on any fact or rumour -but I recently noticed a new set of Pooh mugs at Disney Stores across Manhattan, with CGI-rendered Winnie, Tigger and co. And the result is simply... awesome! Let's hope that, carried away by the success of other CGI features and if they can keep their ownership rights over the property, Disney has some computer-generated Winnie project cooking for us, because that looks like it could be quite fantastic!
       
       
    • Return To NeverLand Press Kit

    • Here are some excerpts from the official release forwarded to Animated Movies by movie critic Eric Lurio: "Walt Disney Pictures is grateful to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, London to which Sir James Barrie gave his copyright to Peter Pan in 1929. With Special Thanks to Kevin Lima." The full song listing is also detailed, and will include not only "Do You Believe in Magic" by BBMak, "Second Star to the Right" and "I'll Try" by Jonatha Brooke, but also "Here We Go Another Plan" by Randy Rogel and "So To Be One of Us" by They Might Be Giants.
       
       
    • Shrek Scores Publicists Nominations

    • Dreamworks SKG FanSite reports that Shrek has been nominated yet again, this time for "top feature publicity campaign." Other titles include Moulin Rouge, Legally Blonde, Harry Potter and American Pie 2. The Hollywood Union Publicists Awards will be held on March 20th, 2002 at Beverly Hilton. 
       
       
    • Yet Another DTV Sequel In the Works?

    • Though I couldn't check the reliability of this rumour yet, Disney is supposedly planning to release The Little Mermaid III: Ursula's Revenge in 2004. That would make sense since The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea was one of 2000's top-10 highest grossing movies with a total of $121 million in VHS and DVD revenues. Thanks to 'Jeremy'.
       
       
    • Asterix Breaks Record in France

    • The second live-action feature based on the "Asterix & Obelix" comic book series opened to huge numbers in France, with over 3,685,097 fans rushing to theaters -that's an astounding 70% of the country's entire movie attendance! Astérix et Obélix : mission Cléopâtre stars Gerard Depardieu (102 Dalmatians) and Monica Belluci (Matrix Reloaded).
       
       
    • Disney's 1949 short 'Wind in the Willows'Disney Rustles Up New Wind in the Willows

    • A lucky breeze blew through the trees for a pair of USC film school grads and their artist partner, as Disney snapped up their bold concept for a revamped version of the century-old animal adventure The Wind in the Willows, Variety reports. The studio agreed to pay a mid-six-figure sum for worldwide rights to the treatment, art and related materials developed by Corey May, Michael "Dooma" Wendschuh and Baruch Inbar. Disney is searching first for a director, then a screenwriter before setting a budget, which is expected to be substantial, given the project's likely reliance on visual effects. Kenneth Grahame's 1908 children's tale, which features four main animals in a series of adventures, is in U.S. public domain, although some overseas rights to the name won't expire until 2003, so the movie's ultimate title remains unclear. The project was hatched after Wendschuh and May graduated from the Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California last spring and then came across artwork and sculptures by Inbar at the Art Center College of Design's thesis show in Pasadena. Inbar's work rethought the Wind in the Willows tale by adding a Jules Verne-influenced sensibility, an approach Wendschuh and May said could be the basis for a live-action film featuring either computer-generated characters or CGI-enhanced costumed performers. Eventually, the pair's Sekretagent Prods. cut a partnership with Inbar, spent six months honing treatment and artwork, and then pitched the studios. Disney, where May was an intern, won out. Under the deal, Wendschuh and May secured executive producer credits, and Inbar will be a co-producer and contribute to the film's design. A 1996 Sony-backed version of The Wind in the Willows, also known as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, was written and directed by Terry Jones and featured several other Monty Python alums. It surfaced briefly to solid reviews but little commercial success in an extremely limited opening. Several animated TV and film projects, including a 1949 Disney short, also have tackled the story. 
       
       
    • Rumours Go Wild about the Fourth Inter-Stitch-Al

    • And the nominees for the last Lilo & Stitch mess-up trailer are... Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Tarzan, The Jungle Book and Peter Pan. Note that Jungle and Pan are the front-runners for the title, with the most online rumours pointing at them. Thanks to 'Mason' for the alert. As a reminder, Beauty & the Beast, The Lion King and Aladdin are the first three Disney classics to get the Stitch treatment! BV Spain spokesperson Miguel Postigo commented to Disney FanClub that the Lion King take is the best of all completed teasers.
       
       
    • New Disney Commercials Premiere on TV

    • The Mouse House just launched two new ad campaigns -one for the direct-to-video Disney's American Legends featuring excerpts from the much-talked about short John Henry, which will also be attached to theatrical copies of Return to NeverLand; and a second one for the Atlantis: The Lost Empire VHS and DVD which is currently at the top of U.S. sales.
       
       
    • Shrek Goes Platinum

    • The movie's first sountrack has shipped over 1 million units in the U.S. and clings on to the Billboard 50 after almost 9 months in release! It is all the more impressive since the Shrek CD never climbed higher than the 28th spot, and still managed to sell as many copies as Madonna's latest greatest hits compilation or Aaliyah's self-titled album.
       
       
    • Did You Know That... On October 23, 1997 a "Save Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" campaign was launched, gathering a petition of over 1,100 names to protest against closing the Walt Disney World ride and distributing 13,000 free postcards to promote its cause.  Unfortunately, Mr. Toad still took his last Wild Ride on Monday, September 7, 1998. Disney did not confirm this until less than a week before The Ride was scheduled to close, "after lying to us for almost a year" stated the campaign manager! Meanwhile, you can still enjoy the ride at Disneyland California where it remains open -thanks to 'Josh' for the correction!

    •  
    Wednesday - February 6, 2001
     
     
  • New Lilo & Stitch Trailers On The Way

  • According to the DisneyFan Club, the Mouse House will soon release two teasers featuring intergalactic terror Stitch messing up with some of their most beloved classics: after Beauty and the Beast, it would now be the turn of The Lion King and Aladdin to get a little visit from Experiment 626! It is actually likely that a fourth inter-Stitch-al will follow shortly after, since there are not two but three empty boxes next to the Beauty and the Beast trailer square on the movie's newly launched site.
     
     
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Gets the Royal Treatment on DVD

  • DVD File announces that a new Vista Series edition of the Robert Zemeckis smash Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is currently in the works over at Disney. This is the same edition that brought us the Unbreakable feature-loaded discs. Thanks to 'Wing-ap-o' for the heads up!
     
     
  • His name is Stitch!Lilo & Stitch Site Updated

  • "His name is Stitch": check out the profile of Experiment 626, who escaped from the Galactic Federation, or check out the Inter-Stitch-al Beauty & the Beast teaser!
     
     
  • A Jimmy Neutron Sequel Officially in the Works

  • Writer/producer/director/actor Steve Oedekerk revealed to IGN, while promoting his new movie Kung Pow, that "the Jimmy Neutron sequel just got ordered so we're going to start work on that in a few weeks. TV series for Neutron comes out next December."
     
     
  • Second Ice Age Review: "Has Its Slow Parts"

  • "This movie is not Shrek which nailed the irreverent thing," comments The Trades. "It's not Monster, Inc. which was pretty darn original now that I think about it. It's a story that you've seen, but it's a story that you will probably enjoy seeing again." On the brighter side, Trades admit that Blue Sky Studios achieve to "make an icy scene – which is void of color – fun and exciting. You like the characters. You want them to succeed. You laugh at the one-liners. It's all clean innocent fun with a hidden message parents can be proud of." Doesn't sound bad to me!
     
     
  • Unreleased Monsters, Inc. Tops UK Box Office Chart!

  • Ananovareports that the Pixar blockbuster has topped the UK box office chart before it is officially released: the movie was shown in special previews at 479 screens in the UK over the weekend. It took £2.7 million, knocking Vanilla Sky off the top of the box office charts.
     
     
  • Monstruous Battle for Oscar Glory

  • The Guardian Unlimited Observer gave a final verdict while covering the U.K. release of Monsters, Inc.: "the chances of Disney beating its arch rival on Academy Awards night look slim."
     
     
  • Review of Balto II: Wolf Quest

  • DVD Review calls this direct-to-video sequel, premiering next week on Toon TV, "a film with its heart in the right place but which, in the end, unfortunately falls a bit flat. (...) The story is just too problematic to be entertaining", the animation style is "of fairly low quality. More and more it seems as if Universal is using their releases as a promotion platform for franchises rather than offer value materials. Balto II is a fairly weak effort and only the most stalwart fans of the wolf dog will likely be interested in the sequel. There’s nothing flat-out bad about the program but it just doesn’t capture the imagination of the viewer like the original film."
     
     
  • Special Disney Offer for Cinderella II

  • Pre-order Dreams Come True by February 25 from the Disney Store and receive a set of four commemorative bonus lithographs. This 2/26 disc is very fairly priced at $19.99 on the site. I'm still not over the great offer Disney put together for the launch of the Snow White DVD -with free litographs and DVD!
     
     
  • Is Imagination Becoming Endangered?

  • "Sequels don't fuel a kid's imagination," states Kim Ode for the Star Tribune. "We recently rented The Princess Diaries, brought to us by the venerable machine called Disney. Cute movie. The previews of upcoming features were another matter. (...) Kids have grown so used to sequels that I didn't think mine would miss a beat. So I was surprised when they reacted as if Walt Disney himself had just patted them on their heads and said, 'Aren't you just the simplest things?' They delivered a united verdict: This is pathetic."
     
     
  • Buena Vista Comments on the European Atlantis DVD -and DTV Sequels 

  • DisneyFan Club talked to Buena Vista Spain about the House Mouse's decision to release the Atlantis DVD only in full screen. BVHE-Spain explained that they are totally against this choice but cannot do anything about it -only consumer pressure could possibly have the London and Burbank offices change their mind. BVHE forwarded all the complaints they received -these include the lack of extras on the Snow White disc, fake widescreen version created for The Emperor's New Groove- to their mother company, but little is to be done about it since, according to surveys, parents are the ones who buy most Disney DVDs, and they typically don't care about the disc's production details. Additionnally, spokeperson Miguel Postigo explained that Disney's motivation to produce the much criticized direct-to-video sequels is to satisfy consumer's requests to get home video products based on the old Disney formula, and leave more daring projects for theaters. Okay dokay!
     
     
  • Britney Spears, Westlife and Destiny's Child To star in Disney TV special

  • The show will be broadcast to tie-in with the opening of the Walt Disney Studios in Paris on March 16, Ananova says. It will be shown in France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain and the UK, and an international version will be developed for worldwide distribution. Disney TV executive John Hardie said: "This is one of the most ambitious television productions that Disney has undertaken in Europe. The programme will first and foremost be an excellent family entertainment show. But rather than producing just one programme for all countries, we are making this relevant to families across Europe by producing entirely bespoke versions."
     
     
  • Batman Animated Cover Art

  • Toon Zone got its hands on the cool DVD cover art -check it out!
     
     
  • Did You Know That... James Barrie wrote several sequels to his original creation Peter Pan: Captain Hook died in the original tale -"Hook went content to the crocodile-", but Wendy did grow up to have a daughter, Jane, who took up her mother's pledge to return once a year to do Peter's spring cleaning.

  •  
    Tuesday - February 5, 2001
     
     
  • Rock-A-Doodle (1991)The Making of Rock-A-Doodle

  • Don Bluth takes us behind the scenes of his 1991 feature in another surprisingly honest message posted on what may be the most interactive official Websites currently up: "The film did not turn out as we planned. A little bit of history may help. We were in a business deal with Goldcrest Films and Television. It was the 2nd of the two-picture deal. The first was All Dogs Go to Heaven. Our first problem occurred at the start of the production of the live-action bookend elements, where the story gets set up and resolved. Victor French was hired to direct the live action. Just after he arrived to start the shoot, he discovered that he had pancreatic cancer. He was experiencing back pain. We sent him to the Black Rock Clinic in Dublin. They basically told him to go back to the States and gave him about 8 weeks to live. Eight weeks later, he was gone. What a disaster for him and for our film. We were already on the march thru the live-action production, people in place to work, contracts committed to, including the entire cast (who were also already in Dublin for the filmming), so Don took over the Director position and pushed the live-action thru. We chauffered him to and from the studios. In the car, he would story board scenes for the animators. So the whole thing got off to a rough start. Once we got a handle on the picture, story reel with the live action bookends all cut together so we could see it, we really started to move. Pinky was a caricature of someone like Colonal Parker (or the Colonal himself). We had a lot of fun with that character. [But] the next disaster was that Goldcrest became concerned about one of our funniest sequences in the film. It was the sequence where Christopher Plummer's character, the Grand Duke (the large Great Horned Owl), was in his kitchen, making a skunk pie. The skunk was a baby skunk, with the voice of an eight-year old actor. Goldcrest went on and on about child abuse and that most abuse occurs in the kitchen. They made us cut most of this sequence out. This sequence was one of the favorite sequences of the children of the staff. This is where the Great Owl sings opera and prepares the dough for the pie with the poor little skunk trying to get away. At the end of the sequence the Owl's stupid nephew, played by Charles Nelson Reilly, crashes into the pots and pans, startling the Grand Duke, allowing the little skunk to flee. This was a great dissappointment as it got some of the biggest laughs in the film. The next problem was that they (Goldcrest) insisted that Goldie be covered better. They had a problem with her costume. We had to go back and add the fur around the top of the strapless bustier, to cover up Goldie's cleavage. We really felt that the film was gutted. Rock-A-Doodle did not have good distribution. It was picked up by Samuel Goldwyn, a small independent US distributor. The first problem was that they completely redesigned our poster advertising art. The European campaign used our poster art, which showed Edmund, the cat, riding on the front of a '59 Cadillac, driving thru the flood waters. The owls were on the flooded barn, in the distance and you could see Chanticleer on top of the highest building of the city with his guitar. This poster art was to telegraph to the audience that the film was a fifties rock 'n roll movie. The poster that was used for the US campaign had a waist shot of the main characters with Chanticleer holding Edmund the cat. The city skyline was in the background - we hated it. It didn't offer any of the energy contained in the European poster. The US campaign was weak compared to our other films' campaigns. MGM/UA's campaign for All Dogs, under the management of David Forbes, was very well done. Obviously the campaigns for An American Tail and Land Before Time were terrific because of Steven Spielberg's envolvement and Universal wanted to make a big splash in animation."
     
     
  • Balto II on U.S. TV

  • If you're unsure whether this straight-to-video adventure is worth investing $20 in, why don't you wait a bit and catch its TV premiere on February 16, at 7pm ET on the Toon channel -three days before its video and DVD release! Balto II: Wolf Quest will also air on Toon on Sunday 2/17 at 10am ET. This new adventure picks up where Balto ended. After settling down with Jenna and having 6 pups, it soon becomes time for Balto to give his children up for adoption to human families. However, no one wants Aleu, his daughter, because she looks so much like a wolf. When Aleu figures this out, she runs away, forcing Balto to go after her and sending her on a journey full of self discovery. BALTO II is a delightful and adventurous children's yarn that imparts a valuable lesson about being oneself. The voice cast includes Mark Hamill, Jody Benson, David Carradine and Lacey Chabert.
     
     
  • Hasbro Unveils First Lilo & Stitch Toys

  • Action-Fiugre announces that "there will be a whole range of figures from the film aimed at boys aged 4+ and a Hula Dancing Lilo Doll and Hula Activity Set for girls of the same age. One sure-fire winner with both boys and girls is bound to be the Special Feature Stitch - who features the latest voice recognition technology and is able to interact." Check out six pictures (on pages 2, 3 and 4) taken at the Global ToyFair! Thanks to Disney FanClub.
     
     
  • U.S. Weekend Box-Office Data

  • #18: Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius with $1,206,339 (-32%) for a total gross of $77,730,692
    #19: Beauty and the Beast - Special Edition with $1,161,856 (-21%) for a total gross of $14,137,018
    #25: Monsters, Inc. with $442,164 (-20%) for a total gross of $251,264,540
    #40: Metropolis with $79,168 (-6%)  for a total gross of $209,822
    #50: Escaflowne with $33,300 on its opening weekend, for a total gross of $56,520
     
     
     
  • Monsters Tear It Up Overseas

  • Pixar's Monsters, Inc. whistled up $3.1 million in Germany for the market's fourth-biggest toon bow behind Dinosaur, Tarzan and The Lion King, and $570,000 in Austria (beating the Toy Story films), Variety reports. The picture also drew $415,000 in Taiwan (on par with Toy Story 2) and $250,000 in Poland as its foreign total climbed to $58.5 million. The blockbuster still hasn't been released on some major markets, including France.
     
     
  • Spanish Scripts for Hayao Miyazaki Movies

  • Latin animation fans will be happy, as Nausicaa.net posted online the translated scripts of five Miyazaki classics, as well as the excellent Grave of the Fireflies. For everybody else, the English-translated scripts are still available.
     
     
  • Did You Know That... Dee Wallace from E.T. fame provided her voice for Edmond's mother in Don Bluth's Rock-A-Doodle.

  •  
    Monday - February 4, 2001
     
     
  • A Major Update on Finding Nemo

  • Cast, plot, design and early feel -Corona has it all with this exciting message reproduced on the Feature Animation Forum: "On January, 31, 2002 I attended to a Walt Disney Pictures meeting in Milan, Italy, to see what's cooking in 2002 and 2003. I didn't expect anything particular so I kinda slept my way through the teaser trailers and storyboards from Treasure Planet, Lilo & Stitch, The Jungle Book II and so on. The best bits, though, came when I was beginning to beg for the end of it all: the lady who's been entertaining the audience for the last 2 or so hours said she'd got something really special in store -test footage and animated storyboards from Finding Nemo. Here's all I can tell from what I've seen: 1) The plot: simple but neat: Nemo, a little clownfish, gets caught by a scuba diver and ends up in a dentist's aquarium in Sydney while his dad, namely Marlin (!), goes looking for him. Both of them make strange acquaintances: while the little guy finds out he's in a fishy loony bin - something like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - his father makes friends with a nice lady suffering from short-term memory losses. The proverbial, funny mess ensues. 2) Characters: now, this is really nice. As usual, the guys from Pixar have envisioned a bunch of guys which are really fun without looking silly. Nemo's cute as hell (plush toys, anyone?), Marlin's a regular guy and the lady fish (voice: Ellen DeGeneres) is really fun, not to mention the guys from the aquarium (amongst them, a starfish with a penchant for endless, boring remarks, a black-and-white striped 'leader of the pack' covered with scars and a really timid, yellow-and-purple skinny guy). Plus, there's a bunch of sharks looking like they're just outta an 'Alcoholists Anonymous' meeting. The test footage, rendering, etc.: awesome. Simply awesome. This baby is much better than Monsters, Inc. The coral reef looks as real as a Discovery Channel documentary, and all the ocean's inhabitants - our heroes, yessir, but also the supporting characters, jellyfish, whales, etc. look wonderful. Hope this helps to give everyone some 'ocean awareness'..."
     
     
  • The soundtrack for 'Return to NeverLand'Soundtrack Site Launched for Return to NeverLand

  • The official site for the movie's soundtrack is finally up: you can listen to snippets from all of the CD's 23 songs, including "Second Star to the Right" and "I'll Try" by folk artist Jonatha Brooke, plus the end-title "Do You Believe in Magic?" by BBMak. Composer Joel McNeely (Splash Too, Flipper, James Cameron's Dark Angel) wrote this Peter Pan score. Beware when you check out the movie's track listing -it is quite spoiler-filled! Thanks to 'Joel' for the heads up.
     
     
  • Spirit Set To Go The Distance 

  • Brandweek announces today that DreamWorks' animated horse love story, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, will be carried by a projected $75-100 million in promotional support and partnerships with Burger King, Baskin-Robbins, M&M/Mars, Hewlett-Packard and juice-maker Veryfine. DreamWorks also is expecting solid retail tie-ins and has projected a Spirit presence in 80,000 retail outlets, sources said. DreamWorks executives were said to have held tete-a-tetes with Wal-Mart brass over a follow-up to the discounter's support for the studio's 2001 hit Shrek, though no deals are signed.
     
     
  • New Spirit Fan Club

  • Stay on top of the game by joining this new group -no connection with Animated Movies but apparently a nice place for fans to gather and exchange information about Stallion of the Cimarron.
     
     
  • Shrek's Donkey Up for an Oscar Nomination?

  • Since his surprise nomination at the BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Arts) last week, Dreamworks has high hopes that Shrek's Eddie Murphy is going to get a Best Supporting Actor nod for a voice actor when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announces Oscar nominations on February 12. "The odds aren't great," analyzes Business Week Online. "There's no telling how much added buzz Shrek will get if Murphy becomes the first 'voice' nominated for best supporting actor. That's why Dreamworks' marketing whiz Terry Press is pulling out all the stops, even if it's an uphill battle. Press is already spending tons of money to promote Shrek, which will likely be nominated this year for the first best animated film Oscar. She has spent well over $5 million so far, putting ads in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, many of which heavily stress the lovable donkey. Notable is the full-page back cover Dreamworks took out showing him wearing black shades and a goofy grin as he thanks the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. for nominating Shrek as the year's best animated feature." Terry Press asks: "if the nominations go to the actor that gives the best performance, how can you not vote for what Eddie Murphy did in this film? Anyone who thinks that doing the voice for an animated film isn't acting just doesn't know what they're talking about. It's hard work."
     
     
  • Clarification on the Oil & Vinegar Project

  • Director Mike Blum explained to Animated Movies how the online rumour that his short movie was going to be Disney's major 2004 animated feature all started: "The rumor is completely unfounded.  It started because I work at Disney and Oil & Vinegar was done largely as an underground project.  Someone not in the know obviously leaked some misinformation.  I've tried contacting various websites to inform them of their mistake but the rumor seems to have a life of its own." Download the hilarious Oil & Vinegar now at Pipsqueak Films!
     
     
  • Ice Age opens nationwide on March 15, 2002An Enthusiastic First Review of A Nearly Completed Ice Age

  • The same site that spread a negative early buzz for the first Blue Sky Studios feature did the movie justice by publishing a first actual review. This second AICN spy "liked [Ice Age]. A lot. (...) Strangely gripping story that wasn't afraid to be a bit dark. The setting and the gags were inventive and surprising. The humour does the current thing of making cracks for the grown-ups, but it wasn't afraid to be occasionally near to the knuckle, too. The animation was enjoyable. I'd give it points for verve, and wearing its style on its sleeve - it makes its own world, and a surprisingly convincing one at that. Over all, thumbs up. Very nice moments, touching, sad beats that are more than you might expect from this franchise ready fare. It's a whole new 'dark PG' world out there."
     
     
  • The Status of Cats

  • 'Eric L.' gives us the lowdown on the animated version of Cats: "The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical was one of the longest failed projects in animation history, having supposed to have have come out in the early '90s....It was directed by Phi Nebblink and Ned Zondag, who laboured for years before it was finally put to sleep in 1998. There was a finished story reel and finished animation was being worked on at one point."
     
     
  • Redrawings Underway for Treasure Planet?

  • According to Dark Horizons, there's a rumour going around that some major 'redrawings' are underway for Disney's Fall animated release Treasure Planet. There's talk the 'Hawkins' character has come off as a punk kid which not many have liked so nearly all of his scenes are being redone. 
     
     
  • Don Bluth Updates Us on the Status of Dragon's Lair: The Movie -and Space Ace

  • The Hollywood Reporter confirms that "Don Bluth's best-selling laserdisc video game Dragon's Lair, which debuted in arcades 18 years ago and has generated more than $130 million in revenue through its translation to 16 different gaming platforms, has an animated feature film in preproduction in Phoenix at Don Bluth Films. Bluth and screenwriter Rob McFarlane just completed the script for the feature, which is a prequel to the video games and will follow Dirk the Daring from his birth through his early adventures. John Hoffman and John Lakey worked out the story, which will introduce a more rounded personality for damsel-in-distress Princess Daphne, Mordroc the wizard and a new dragon. Christopher Stone, who composed 40 minutes of original music for the new game as well as the two original laserdisc games, will score the feature. "We think we can get this movie done for $30 million with a staff of 160 people," Bluth said. "We have a staff of seven that has been working on the story. The way I work with co-director Gary Goldman, I do the preproduction with the storyboarding and layouts and then turn the reins over to Gary. We're currently researching whether to make the film full 3-D CGI or traditional 2-D with some CGI." The film, which is seeking a distributor and is expected to begin production in the next three months, is aimed at a 2003 release to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the game. The 18- to 22-month schedule that has been mapped out for a traditional 2-D animated film could be expanded should Bluth and company decide to go with a CGI feature. "Should we decide to go full CGI, we'd use similar technology to that which was developed for the new game, which uses Toon Shader to create 3-D models that will have a unique 2-D cel animated look," said Goldman. "We'd have our 2-D animators assist the 3-D animators with the facial expressions and traditional animation techniques." The hope is to launch Dragon's Lair as a feature film franchise and reinvigorate the game franchise with additional adventures. "One of the things that made Dragon's Lair successful was that it was like watching a feature animated film," Bluth said. Ubi Soft and Encore are expected to vie for the rights to the next Dragon's Lair games, which will be based on the feature film and are expected to ship in conjunction with the theatrical release. "About a quarter-billion people have played this game worldwide since it launched in 1983, with 40% of game sales coming from North America and 60 percent coming from the rest of the world," said Rick Dyer, who co-created the original games with Bluth and has been developing the new game for the past three years at their Dragon Stone Software. " Dragon's Lair is like the Monopoly of video games. It's been on store shelves for 18 years straight in various formats and continues to sell well." Bluth also might turn his other video game creation, Space Ace, into a feature film and a revived video game franchise. "After doing Titan A.E., our appetites were whetted for science fiction, and Space Ace takes a very humorous approach to sci-fi," Bluth said.
     
     
  • Why Dreamworks Animation and Amblimation are "the exact same studio"

  • More from 'Eric L', with a little studio history... "Amblimation was founded in 1989 when Spielberg fired Don Bluth, and was later folded into Dreamworks (the entire company was given work visas and moved en masse to Hollywood from London), except for the small unit doing Cats in 1997. Amblimation's films are An American Tail 2 (1991), which was a disaster, and the second ever animated sequel. We're Back: A Dinosaur's Tale (1993), which was supposed to have come out in 1992, and had massive story problems... and Balto (1995) which was actually pretty good but failed at the box-office as Universal pretty much gave up on it before it came out." Indeed, Balto was a great movie, and Fieveld Goes West an entertaining minor feature.
     
     
  • Behind-The-Scenes of Ice Age

  • Director Chris Wedge recently discussed the making of his first movie with About.com. "There are actually theoretical physicists on our staff at Blue Sky that understand the physics of light to the extent that they can mimic it inside the computer," director Chris Wedge said. "What they track are the complexities of light, the way that light rays, the way you learn about it in high school, photons I guess, spray into a scene and splash around and create all the complexities that we associate with the way the world looks. And I think you'll be able to see when you look at the imagery today that there is an almost storybook appeal to the characters because partially the way they're rendered with this technology." Wedge felt the ice age was the perfect setting for an animated film, as it allowed a balance between realism and artistic freedom. "It seemed to me that when we first started in on it that we could take quite a bit of creative license because no one was actually there," Wedge said. "We did a little bit of research. We spent quite a bit of time at the American Museum of Natural History in New York looking at mammoth bones and the great murals that were painted there. [We] actually consulted with an anthropologist there, Dr. Randall White, who told us, 'Yeah, pretty much take whatever creative license you want to. Just do me one favor. Promise me you won't put any dinosaurs in the movie. The dinosaurs were extinct about 350 million years before this.' We made him that promise at that meeting but we managed to slip one through anyway. You'll see how we did it. But it seemed to me that we could have a lot of fun making the ice age itself a character in the movie and make an animated world and use it to kick off the story." Since the heroes of the film are talking animals, Wedge decided to humanize them while humans in the film are portrayed as more animalistic. "It's a movie where all the animals talk and none of the humans do," Wedge said. "It's kind of shot as if the characters were humans and whenever we see the humans, they're shot more like nature photography. I think one thing that's going to surprise a lot of people about our movie is I think you're going to go expecting to see a lot of great humor and action and adventure as you would when you go to most animated films," Wedge said. "But what you find as our film progresses is that there's a lot of heart as these three characters find a bond. They all kind of dig into their pasts. The themes it explores are about family and the different forms that it takes, family breaking apart and families coming together and finding family where you least expect to."
     
     

    Check out the movie's official site!


  • Help! I'm A Fish Gets A U.S. Premiere

  • Unfortunately too late to make it eligible for the 2001 Best Animated Feature Oscar. The Danish production will get two showings at the 2002 NY International Children's Film Festival, on March 9 and March 23. 
     
     
  • Oil & Vinegar: Another Rumoured Project Debunked

  • This has been one of these projects much talked about among animation fans since the late '90s. Like Selkies or SharkSlayer to name only two, the rumour has been floating around for a while that some major animation studio -in this case, Disney- was developping this as a feature project, though no official source ever confirmed it. Expected to be released in 2004, Oil & Vinegar turned out to be nothing more than a 3-minute short produced by Walt Disney Animation. Today, one of the best movie sites, Dark Horizons, is pointed it at again -"the acclaimed animated film has finally hit the Net" (even though it actually popped up on the Web in October 2000).
     
     
  • Andreas Deja Studio Lunch Experience...

  • What's up with that?? Digital Media FX reports that Disney is auctioning off lunch with well-known animator Andreas Deja as the studio continues to find financial revenues in its partnership with eBay. In October, Disney auctioned a lunch with Roy Disney that fetched $12,000. Disney describes Andreas Deja as follows: "Andreas Deja is one of Disney's premiere animation artists, having begun his career working with Disney legend Eric Larson on such early assignments as The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective and Oliver & Company. Since then, Deja has created such memorable Disney villains as the pompous Gaston for Beauty and the Beast, the evil vizier Jafar for Aladdin and the power-hungry Scar for The Lion King. After bringing to life his first Disney hero, the title character of the epic comedy Hercules, Deja will show fans a softer side in Summer 2002 as the supervising animator for Lilo, the little Hawaiian heroine of Disney's Lilo and Stitch, a film in production at the Walt Disney Feature Animation Studio in Orlando, Florida." Disney says the winning bidder will receive the following: "One lucky winning bidder will enjoy lunch with Andreas at the Rotunda, The Walt Disney Studios' executive dining room, and will also be treated to a private tour of the Disney Studios lot, which is not open to the general public." As of the printing of this story, bidding was at $350 with four days to go... Which makes one wonders -what's next? Hand-painted cells of a naked Minnie autographed by Michael Eisner if the price is right?? 
     
     
  • Rating for Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

  • The MPAA just gave it, as expected, a G Rating (for General Audiences).
     
     
  • Did You Know That... Several studio executives and Oscar strategists estimated that some of this year's campaigns cost $10 million to $15 million, just to get the nomination?

  •  
    Sunday - February 3, 2001
       
       
    • Return to NeverLand Soundtrack

    • Even though there is no trace of it yet in the main online music stores, 'Mason' confirms that Disney will indeed release a soundtrack album for the Peter Pan sequel, which opens in the U.S. in only two weeks. Boys band BBmak will perform "Do You Believe in Magic", which will play when Peter is showing NeverLand to Wendy's daughter Jane, who jeopardizes Tink's light by not believing in fairies.
       
       
    • Model Sheets for Spirit and Lilo & Stitch

    • Feature Animation scored several great model sheets for these upcoming features.
       
       
    • Walt Disney WorldDisney Magic Meets Disney Music with PhilharMagic

    • WDW Magic informs us via Animagic that a new 3-D film spectacular will debut in 2003 at the Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World Resort. "Mickey's PhilharMagic" will star Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and other favorite Disney characters animated in a way they've never before been seen: grand, glorious, in-your-face three dimensions. "We're really excited about this new attraction," said Al Weiss, president of Walt Disney World Resort. "Guests love the Disney characters and films, and this gives them the chance to take a magical ride right into the world of Disney animation." The "Mickey's PhilharMagic" cast will include Mickey and Donald, as well as Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Jasmine from Aladdin and Simba from The Lion King. Set in the PhilharMagic Concert Hall, which replaces "Legend of the Lion King" in Fantasyland, the eye-popping 3-D experience will unfold on one of the largest screens ever created for a 3-D film, a 150-foot-wide canvas. Complete with in-theater effects, the attraction will immerse guests in the richly animated world of the Disney characters. The Walt Disney Company has experimented with animating the Disney characters in 3-D before, most notably in "Working for Peanuts," a 1953 Donald Duck/Chip 'n' Dale cartoon short, but never on a scale as grand as "Mickey's PhilharMagic." The attraction is being produced through the combined efforts of Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Feature Animation. "We're always exploring ways to take 3-D to the next level," said Tom Fitzgerald, executive vice president and senior creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering. "From 'Jim Henson's Muppet*Vision 3D' to 'Honey, I Shrunk the Audience' to 'It's Tough to be a Bug!', we keep looking for new ways to allow guests to become a part of the action and story. " 'Mickey's PhilharMagic' will be the most animated, energetic and magical 3-D show we've ever created!" The story of the show will be based around Mickey Mouse taking us through a journey of the greatest Disney Music and Movies of all time. FASTPASS will also be added to the show, which will have extensive in-theater effects - including a motion base floor to the theater, changing sets, in-theater props, fog and fibre-optics. The success of this ride is likely to impact the status of the rumoured In Search of Mickey project, which is currently in development hell.
       
       
    • Box-Office Preview for Ice Age

    • The excellent Box Office Report forecasts a $9M opening day, $33M opening weekend, and $125-175M total gross for the first Blue Sky Studios production. "The film's early ad-campaign has gone over exceptionally well with children and adults alike, which should be enough to generate a strong opening weekend, especially when considering the recent popularity of computer animated family films. At the same time matching the domestic success of films such as Monsters Inc., Shrek and Toy Story will be quite a challenge for Fox given the film's Spring release date, the close proximity to the anticipated March 22 re-release of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and the possibility that Fox may be jumping on the computer animated bandwagon just a little too late. So while Ice Age may very well be the highest grossing film of the spring, its domestic performance will likely pail in comparison to those of Monsters Inc. and Shrek."
       
       
    • No Lilo Teaser for DVD Lovers

    • The Lilo & Stitch trailer will not be attached to any of the major Disney animated releases: it is nowhere to be found on the Atlantis disc, or, according to postings at the Feature Animation Forum, the upcoming Peter Pan: Special Edition or Disney's American Legends DVDs. In another Marketing move upsetting animation fans, DisneyFan Club reports that Atlantis: The Lost Empire will be released in full screen format only on DVD -at least in Spain, and likely in the rest of Europe as well.
       
       
    • Mickey the Snowman

    • Yahoo! posted two pictures (1, 2) of members of the Ground Self-Defense Force putting the finishing touches last Monday on a snow sculpture of Mickey Mouse for the Sapporo Snow Festival in Sapporo, northern Japan. The festival, one of world's largest snow and ice sculpture festivals, will be held between February 5 to 11 with 21 countries and regions participating.
       
       
    • Exclusive Spirit Wallpaper for Members

    • A very cool February wallpaper is available for download to those subscribing to the free Animation Mailing List. You'll find the link at the bottom of the monthly newsletter, which is going out today.
       
       
    • Did You Know That... Though it may never see the light of day, In Search of Mickey is expected to be Disney's 50th Feature Film; in this movie featuring the Mouse House's most famous characters, Minnie hires the greatest detective alive, Basil of Baker Street, to help find Mickey who got "mouse-knapped."
    Saturday - February 2, 2001
       
       
    • A Preliminary drawing for ClaytonTarzan 2 In Pre-Production?

    • According to the Feature Animation Forum, a Fall 2003 direct-to-video sequel, which "is more of a chapter in the film than a sequel",  is in storyboard stage right now. Though it doesn't have a title yet, Phil Collins (who is also penning the soundtrack for Bears) already wrote new songs for it. Ohio Studio character builders (The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea) are doing all pre-production and directing Tarzan 2 -they are currently finishing directing another direct-to-video project, 101 Dalmatians: The Animated Sequel (aka Patch's London Adventure),  which is reportedly "really enjoyable." Before Tarzan 2, a compilation of several episodes from the Tarzan TV series, retitled Tarzan & Jane and promoted on the Atlantis VHS, will get released.
       
       
    • Don Bluth Abandonned a Dracula Animated Project!

    • Asked if he would ever consider pushing himself into unfamiliar, dark animated story territory, director Don Bluth made an interesting comment: "We've toyed with film concepts like Dracula and even developed it for a few months. It was abandoned, but we really got excited about the possibilities. The script was written by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). A project like this could be a problem for distributors, but it's not out of the question. In our past efforts, we have attempted to go in a more adult approach, NIMH, Anastasia and Titan A.E. The results were not great. So, it is difficult to jump on this idea, it is already difficult to raise money for animation. The most successful animated films are for families. Aan animated film with a more adult approach will eventually hit the mark and ring the bell. Shrek worked for the adult audience and the families as well. Animation and family films rated G or PG, actually dominate the revenue taken in by film distributors. From around 1988 to date, only 3% of the films made, fit the G or PG rating. However, these few films took in 78% of the revenue and 58% of the profits, compared to the other 97% of the films made. Of course this number includes the huge hits like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King, Toy Story I and II, A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc and Shrek. Looks like families rule. We'll see where it goes from here." Also check out Don's official board to read what he thinks about the future of traditional animation.
       
       
    • Did You Know That... In 1984, Don Bluth did a lot of development on Beauty and the Beast, based on the original story and a script by Don and John Pomeroy, but the project was never funded.

    •  
     
    Friday - February 1, 2001
       
       
    • One of two pictures available for Pixar's 'Finding Nemo'Pixar Says Has Three Pictures Left to Deliver to Disney

    • That kind of public reminder can't be good for Disney... Reuters reports that Pixar Animation Studios Inc. said on Thursday it had only three pictures left to deliver to The Walt Disney Co. under their current co-production agreement. The company said the clarification stemmed from some questions arising from comments by Disney's Chief Executive Michael Eisner during the company's first quarter conference call on Thursday afternoon. Pixar and Disney representatives were not immediately available for details. "Pixar has only three pictures left to deliver under its current deal with Disney, and all three of these pictures are currently in some stage of production," Pixar CEO Steve Jobs said. The underwater adventure Finding Nemo will hit screens in 2003, Brad Bird's comedy about a dysfunctional family of high-profile superheroes, The Invincibles, in 2004, and John Lasseter's car-driven Route 66 in 2005. "While Pixar has the right of first refusal to make sequels of its films, it has no obligation to do so. Pixar enjoys a very successful relationship with Disney and we look forward to completing the remaining three pictures of our current deal." Pixar will release its fourth quarter 2001 earnings on Thursday, February 7, 2002. 
       
       
    • Cats & Dogs Sequel Kicks Off 

    • Oh no... Here's a terrific concept turned into a terrible movie. Warner Bros. is now officially moving forward on a live-action/CGI sequel and has hired helmer Kevin Lima (A Goofy Movie, Tarzan, 102 Dalmatians) to direct it. Hopefully he can accomplish what Lawrence Guterman couldn't with the first movie. The Hollywood Reporter says that Cats & Dogs 2 is being written by the film's original writers, John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, and will continue the wars between canines and felines. Many of the original film's characters are expected back.
       
       
    • More on Team Atlantis

    • According to Disney Fan Club, Mike Mignola designed new characters for Atlantis's direct-to-video sequel, based on the first episodes of a canned TV series. Disney supposedly invested much more energy and money in Team Atlantis -the working title for the series, which is likely to be changed by the time the sequel is released- than in most of its other minor projects. Directed by the team behind Gargoyles, it will follow the adventures of Milo and Kida in Atlantis.
       
       
    • Disney Q1 Profit Down, But Beats Expectations

    • The Walt Disney Co. Thursday reported a 55 percent drop in fiscal first-quarter earnings, before a one-time gain, due to lower sales across all business segments, but managed to beat expectations due to cost savings. Burried in the official release is the following interesting remark: "The theatrical success of Disney/Pixar's Monsters, Inc. was more than offset by the impact of marketing costs spent on films not yet released and on films released late in the quarter." Those interested can check out Reuters' analysis of this data.
       
       
    • Another Atlantis DVD Review: "Vastly Entertaining and Informative"

    • While the movie itself didn't enjoy critical or commercial success, the Atlantis DVDs released this week in the U.S. are being praised unanimously by both the media and Disney fans. The home video market is becoming such a huge source of revenues for Disney that the Mouse House now invests more energy than ever to release extremely attracting DVDs , even for its theatrical disappointments -expect another feature-loaded disc for Return to NeverLand this Fall. The L.A. Times is the latest to applaude Disney for its work on Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
       
       
    • DVD Menu for Balto II: Wolf Quest

    • DVD Angle posted four shots for tihs February 19 disc. This is a big month for ainmation DVD releases, with the sequels to All Dogs Go To Heaven and The Secret of NIMH on February 5, Cinderella II: Dreams Come True on the 26th, and will stuck in-between Disney's Peter Pan and American Legends (which marks the video premiere of John Henry) on the 12th. For more information on all these features, check out AWM.
       
       
    • First Pictures from the Adam Sandler Vehicle, 8 Crazy Nights

    • Here's one project I'm not excited about, but for those who are -the AICN team got their hands on exclusive images from this Thanksgiving 2002 release. A review is also available on the site.
       
       
    • Disney Interactive Announces Nintendo Game Boy Advance Publishing Agreement

    • Disney Interactive announced its licensing agreement with Nintendo of America to publish titles for Game Boy Advance. The first title under this agreement will be Disney's Peter Pan: Return to NeverLand on February 15. Licenses for other Disney-branded titles for Game Boy Advance will continue to be awarded to outside publishers. "Disney Interactive has had success on the Game Boy platform for quite some time, with standard characters like Mickey and Minnie, and properties including Disney's Tarzan, Disney/Pixar's Toy Story and Monsters, Inc., among many others," said Steve Finney, senior vice president and general manager, Disney Interactive, North America. "To complement our licensing strategy and support a number of company initiatives we are very excited to expand our offering of Game Boy Advance titles through internal publishing." Disney Interactive plans to publish several Game Boy Advance titles this year, including two based on the upcoming animated feature films, Lilo & Stitch, which releases in theaters in June, and Treasure Planet," which releases in theaters in November. Thanks to the Laughing Place for the heads up.
       
       
    • Did You Know That... Cats and Dogs was initially developed by Warner Bros. Feature Animation as a vehicle for Sylvester the Cat

    •  
    Got a scoop or interesting news? Why not email Animated Movies now!

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